Redeemer of Man, contra the Diminishment of Freedom

There are many aspects of human nature that could serve as the basis for this exploration of man’s redemption. John Paul II mentions the esteem he shows for man in his “intellect and will, conscience and freedom.” The classic view focuses on intellect, on man as a rational animal. Coming into his maturity in the post World War II era, John Paul is aware of the importance of freedom. The war was fought for freedom. The philosophy of existentialism emphasized human freedom, in part because of the the narrowing of the scope of reason to scientific and calculative reason and in part because of the apparent irrationalities of life. Cardinal Wojtyla, Archbishop of Krakow, took up the theme of freedom because of the communists’ diminishment of man’s freedom.

Political oppression is not the only threat to freedom today. As a Bishop, Wojtyla discovered a “freedom based on truth, [which truth] frees man from what curtails, diminishes and as it were breaks off this freedom at its root, in man’s soul, his heart and his conscience.” (§12).

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